Monday, August 02, 2010

30 held at anti-ISA vigil

©The Sun (Used by permission)
by Charles Ramendran

PETALING JAYA (Aug 1, 2010): Police arrested 30 people who were among about 100 people gathering for a candlelight vigil at the Dataran Timur, opposite Amcorp Mall on Jalan Timur, today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The protesters began gathering from 7pm for the event which was organised by non-governmental organisation Gerakan Mansuh ISA (GMI) and was to be held simultaneously in several states.

Twenty-two of those picked up were men. Among them were GMI president Syed Ibrahim, Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, who is better known as Chegubard. Also arrested was GMI coordinator E. Nalini.

About 80 policemen, including members of the Light Strike Force (LSF), led by district police chief ACP Arjunaidi Mohamad were present at the scene.

At about 7.30pm the group moved from Amcorp Mall to Dataran Timur but were stopped by a human barricade formed by police personnel and the LSF on the main road.

Police warned the group, which did not have a permit to gather, to disperse or face action.

The protesters relented and turned to the lobby of Amcorp Mall, but marched towards Dataran Timur again at 8.45pm, chanting slogans.

At that juncture, police moved in and began making arrests.

"We had given them ample time and warning and told them to leave as the vigil did not have a police permit and was an illegal gathering but they just ignored us. We were left with no choice but to arrest those who were defiant," said Arjunaidi.

Those arrested were taken to the district police headquarters nearby where they had their statements recorded and at press time were yet to be released.

About four truckful of personnel from the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) were seen on standby at the headquarters.

In Penang at about the same time, four people were arrested by police when they tried to gather at the Speakers’ Square in a similar protest, Himanshu Bhatt reports.

A group had tried to gather at the square but failed as police had cordoned off the Padang Kota Lama field.

The situation became tense when a group of about 20 youths showed up and began shouting support for the ISA to counter those who had come for the vigil.

Those arrested were activist Kris Khaira, his father lawyer Darshan Singh and two other activists. They were taken to the Jelutong police station to have their statements recorded.

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